Image source: SaralandChristians
My wife was my friend for eight years, before we drew closer and got married two years later. As casual friends, our conversations were great but was focused more around our professional interests, a little bit about our faith, and almost nothing about our families. As we drew closer together in the next two years, we still talked about our professional interests, but we started talking more about our faith, and a lot lot more about our families. Our relationship progressed into the intimate zone.
The book of Leviticus has many lessons, one of which is God showing Israel how to walk closely, intimately, with him. In Exodus, after God delivered Israel from Egypt, he brought them to Mt. Sinai and came down to meet with them. At that meeting, Israel agreed that they will worship and serve him (Exodus 19); and were given the ten commandments (Exodus 20). This happened three months after they left Egypt, the instructions in Leviticus were given nine months after the ten commandments.
Leviticus shows God bringing Israel into his intimate zone. In Chapters 1 to 7, God calls for their absolute commitment; in Chapters 8 to 10 God shows his absolute commitment to Israel; in Chapters 11 to 15 God teaches Israel about public health; in Chapter 16, the day of atonement, God addresses Israel’s spiritual health; and in Chapters 17 to 20 God calls on Israel to be unique in their lifestyle from what they eat, what they wear, in their relationships and sexual habits.
Leviticus 21 and 22 instructs the priests about their work and life; in Chapter 23 God sets the dates for the yearly feasts of Israel (passover, pentecost, day of atonement, and tabernacles); Chapter 24 has more priestly instructions and penalty for breaking the law; Chapter 25 has economic instructions to protect the land and the poor; Chapter 26 details the blessings and penalty for obedience and disobedience; Chapter 27 concludes Leviticus with instructions about fulfilling our vows.
In Leviticus 22:31-33 (The Message Bible) God says to the priests: “Do what I tell you; live what I tell you. I am God. “Don’t desecrate my holy name. I insist on being treated with holy reverence among the People of Israel. I am GOD who makes you holy and brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am GOD.”
Leviticus reveals the depth, full weight, and seriousness of God’s relationship with Israel. This level of investment in the relationship between God and Israel, with the accompanying responsibilities, expectations, and sanctions, shows that this is a bonded relationship not just a casual thing. Thankfully, Jesus has come and made possible a less burdensome relationship between God and us!
Dear God, Leviticus teaches us the high price on Israel to draw near to you, thank you for Jesus who has made this less burdensome on us today, praise be unto you, Amen!